Customer Service: It’s a Gas

October 27, 2014 at 2:46 pm 2 comments

October is one of the months of the year when natural gas suppliers offer rates/contracts. I’m shopping because I got an auto-renew letter from my current supplier with a rate of 64.21/therm. I thought I could find a better rate. (I was right.) The letter tells me that to stop the auto-renewal, I must contact them before November 15.

Having been involved (on the marketing side) when deregulation was first introduced in Pennsylvania and having worked for an electricity retailer for a couple of years, I know the dealio. However, I had never done the sign-up online before. When speaking to reps in the past (for both electricity and natural gas supply), the person had always mentioned that notifications to my main company and my old supplier would be handled.

I used the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s site to get an overview of rate plans available and also looked through information on the specific supplier sites to check/confirm details and options. I selected my new supplier and filled out the online sign-up form. I saw no indication that they would handle the notification to cancel the auto-renewal/old supplier. Knowing that chances were very high that they would, I still wanted to confirm it with a human being. It went like this.

Note:  Before speaking to Company Name’s* customer service representative, I had decided to be their customer. I had already decided to give them my money. 

Me:  Hello, I’m signing up on your website for natural gas supply. I have a current supplier set to auto-renew, and I wanted to make sure that when I sign up with you that you will handle notification to the existing supplier — so it will not be auto-renewed. Or do I need to contact the other supplier myself?

Rep:  We are not your gas company. You are selecting a supplier. That is not the same as your gas company.

Me: Yes, I know that. I already have another supplier {and I slightly emphasize the word here, which should help her realize that I do indeed understand} and I want to switch to Company Name*. I just want to know if I also have to notify my current supplier. Normally, the supplier handles the notification. But I don’t see anything on your website about that, so I just wanted to confirm it.

Rep speaking slowly and succinctly:  You are selecting a supplier. That is not the same as your gas company. Choice gives you the option to select a supplier.

Me:  Yes, I’m aware of that. That’s not my question. I just want to know–

Rep:  {Interrupting me with a loud, exasperated sigh.} With choice–

Me {Interrupting her right back}:  I know. My question is whether or not my existing supplier will be notified that I have switched — so that my existing contract doesn’t auto-renew.

Rep:  Once you sign up all of the information will be gathered and sent to your gas company and they handle everything.

Me:  So, that means they handle the notification to my existing supplier?

Rep:  Once you sign up all of the information goes to your gas company. They handle everything.

Me:  Oh-kay! Well, I guess I’ll think about it. Thanks-bye.

I went back to the drawing board and picked another supplier. It went like this:

Me (via online chat):  Hello, I’m signing up on your website for natural gas supply. I have a current supplier set to auto-renew, and I wanted to make sure that when I sign up with you that you will handle notification to the existing supplier — so it will not be auto-renewed. Or do I need to contact the other supplier myself?

Rep:  We’ll handle it. By the way, I heard that we’re having some website issues today that has made it difficult for new customers to sign up via the web. Would you like me to call you and take care of it over the phone?

Hallelujah!

She called and I was signed up in about a minute. Well done, Christine at Shipley Energy, well done.

Oh and did I mention that this company — Shipley Energy — is also donating $25 to breast cancer research for new customer sign up?

*I am not mentioning the name of the other company because I used to work there and still know some people who work there. I don’t want to bash all of them because one customer service rep is an asshat. 

Entry filed under: Humor - Commentary. Tags: , , , , , .

Eye Carumba Dear Younger Self

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ask  |  April 15, 2015 at 4:23 am

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    Like

    Reply
    • 2. B. Schmidt  |  April 15, 2015 at 11:52 am

      Hi, if you’re looking to blog, I highly recommend WordPress. It is so easy to learn and use. And, it’s free. Once you’re sure you like it as your platform, you can always upgrade to a custom url and other features that cost money. I think the best advice I can give you is just start, pick a platform and start; don’t let the overwhelming amount of choices bog you down because they are probably all pretty much the same really. But, truly, WordPress is a good one. It’s one of the bigger/more well known options, has the backup/support systems, many options, etc. Good luck!

      Like

      Reply

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